MANILA -- National University Nazareth School is on the brink of a third consecutive UAAP high school boys' volleyball crown after a thrilling 25-22, 14-25, 15-25, 25-22, 15-13 triumph over Far Eastern University-Diliman.
The Bullpups snatched the Game 1 win on Saturday at the Paco Arena in Manila, and can clinch the series on Monday at 9:00 a.m. in the same venue. Individual awardees will be recognized ahead of the game.
Staring at a 5-11 disadvantage in the fifth set, the Baby Tamaraws strung five consecutive points to cut it to just one at 10-11, ending with an Andrei Rebusquillo drop from the middle.
From there, NUNS regained control and, despite FEU-Diliman's rally, the Bustillos-based squad eventually closed the match with a kill from Jeffe Gallego Jr.
"Nung una, kanya-kanyang diskarte. Pero nung huli, pina-realize ko na hindi naman kailangang individual yung diskarte, kailangan as a team," Bullpups coach Edgar Barroga said.
"Kaya nawala kami nung second at third. Bumalik lang kami nung narealize nila yung resulta ng nangyari," he added.
The Bullpups also defeated the Baby Tamaraws in the elimination round, 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-17 last February 21 and 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20 last March 11.
As what transpired in their first two meetings in the elimination round, NUNS took advantage of its strong start to bag the opening set at 25-22.
FEU-D, though, got the better of the reigning back-to-back champion in the next two sets, fashioning out stunning routs at 25-14 and 25-15.